Internet Defense League


Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Spirited Away

What started as a dedication to family friends, became the first Anime to ever receive an academy award.  Spirited Away was considered to be one of Anime's greatest milestones.  It was produced by Studio Ghibli and directed by Anime God Hayao Miyazaki, this film is what caused a lot of revolutions in the anime world and animation in general.  It was one of many joint efforts between Disney and Ghibli, which in turn made them partners. I first saw this movie in film class, where we did a session on animated movies and I was amazed.  At the time I did not know Hayao or Ghibli, but I knew Disney was the reason it was introduced in the west.   To my surprise it was one of the few things during the Eisner Period that wasn't altered.  Meaning they could say die, they could show blood and it wasn't too cutesy or cut up like most animes in the late 90s - 2000s.  That was because Pixar's John Lasseter was a hardcore fan of Miyazaki and risked his reputation to share his love of it with us the audience.  Needless to say it worked.

The story goes like so.  10 year old Chihiro is going through a lot.  She just moved away from her old home and has been a bit of a brat for lack of a better word.  During a shortcut to their new home, her parents stumble upon a tunnel that lead to an abandoned amusement park.  Their curiousity gets the better of them and they raid the food court, Chihiro not joining in.  As she waits for them to finish she discovers an old bathhouse and a boy standing guard who tries to get her out of the park before the sun set.  However it was too late and in the darkness the entire park changes: The pathway they took is now replaced by a lake, strange entities appear out of nowhere and to make matters worse, Chihiro discovers to her horror that her parents have turned into pigs.  She discovers that she's trapped in the spirit world and can't leave.   The boy, whose name is Haku tasks her into getting a job at the bathhouse so her parents won't get slaughtered.  The Bathhouse itself is run by a witch named Yubaba and is made to serve high class spirit beings in exchange for gold.  She gets the job and sets a plan in motion to rescue her parents.  Along the way Chihiro, now named Sen meets various characters including, Lin who teaches her how to work, Kamaji a spider-man hybrid that works the boiler room and No-Face a spirit she was nice to who only wants to help her.  She also discovers more about her own past that is connected to the Bathhouse and falls for Haku despite his dual nature.

Now for the fun part.  Could It Exist In Real Life?

First let's start with the bathhouse.  While there are many real life Bathhouses in Japan where this takes place the specific one was modeled after The Dogo Onsen, which actually has an urban legend about gods and the healing power of the hotspring in said house.

Next is the spirits.  There are various spirits that represent almost every aspect and animal.  But they all have one thing in common.  They are commonly known as Yokai.  In layman's terms they are spiritual beings that are a mix between human and animal.   Much of the more common ones are the Frogs and Slugs that work in the bathouse.  Lin herself is based off a Weasel and Yubaba is a crow.  As well as Haku and the River Spirit being Dragons.

But then there is the No Face a creature that devours creatures and copies their traits.  In the movie's case he ate 3 greedy people and took their greed on as his own.  He exists in two ways.   One is that he is known as Obake which means shapeshifter and the other is his mask.  Which is commonly known as a Noh face.  The secret of the mask is that it's the same face all the time, just the angle and lighting cause it to show different emotions.

Last but not least is Chihiro herself, she can exist in two ways.  One she is an average girl, whose experience is a supernatural exaggeration of growing up. The other is the specific person.  While I don't know her name, Chihiro is based off of 5 girls that are close friends to Hayo Miyazaki himself, who vacation with him and his family during the summer.  It was then and there that became the inspiration of Spirited Away.

As usual debate, argue and let me know what I missed.  Stay Tuned For More.

No comments:

Post a Comment